Yesterday, Tuesday April 13, marked the first day of the Holy month of Ramadan. Muslims across the world are expected to abstain from all food, drink, sex or smoke between dawn and dusk each day till the sighting of the crescent moon of Shawwal in 29 or 30 days' time.
The fast, which is the fifth pillar of Islam, presents great opportunity for believers to come closer to the Almighty Allah.
Fasting has been described in the Holy Quran, as an act that makes one to become a better Muslim. Holy Quran (2: 183) states that "O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may learn piety and righteousness.
Ramadan, the 9th month of the Islamic calendar, is considered one of the most blessed, if not the holiest month in Islam.
Muslims are not only supposed to refrain from eating and drinking during the stipulated timing but they are also required to curb all negative emotions like acrimony, anger, covetousness, envy, gluttony and lust. Dishonesty and dubiousness also negate the essence of fasting. Instead, increased charity and goodwill are promoted since they attract rewards in manifolds and improve the condition of the weak and vulnerable in the society.
The spirit of sacrifice that is symbolized by deliberately depriving the body of its needs engenders humility, mercy and kindness in the hearts and minds of Muslims. These three great qualities are needed in enormous quantities now more than ever that the world is still experiencing the effects of COVID 19 and the attendant negative impact on the economy generally not just in Nigeria but across the globe.
The authentic spirit of the Ramadan is one of self-discipline, introspection, self-discovery and self-development. Ramadan during this global pandemic may seem disheartening at a superficial level, however, this newspaper believes it has arrived at Allah's own appointed time.
This newspaper wishes Happy Ramadan Mubarak to all Muslims.